The Janot family was so kind to me. It is amazing to see a country from within a family. My stay in Lille as a 16 year old changed my life in many positive ways. It helped me see the world in a different way. I learned that people really want the same things- a safe place to live, plenty of food to eat, good schools. The details may be different but at the heart the desires are the same.
The Janots took me many places including Paris for a long weekend. Ohh, la, la! One place we visited out in the countyside was an old church built 750 years ago. It was just the local church for that town, I don’t think it was famous or well known. Standing there though I realized that the “local neighborhood church” was 3 times as old as the US and they had been around living, dying, trying to make a go of things for a very long time. It was there I understood how we must appear to the rest of the world- like al little brother who thinks they know everything but really doesn’t.
The Janots invited us to stay with them for the 2 days we’d be in Lille. It was a wonderful visit. They met us at the train station and I recognized them right away. It was so good to see them. I had been practicing my French this past year but not enough! With my very limited French, their limited English and the wonders of google translate we were able to converse.
The next day Mrs Janot accompanied us on a city bus tour around Lille where we learned lots of history of the city (audio in English) . It was cool and sunny- beautiful day to be out and about. Next we walked around the city and visited the Cathedral in Lille. Beautiful. We met Dr Janot and a friend for lunch at a really neat restaurant. They treated us to a delicious lunch. Good food and yummy crème caramel and crepes with chocolate for dessert. Dr Janot returned home and we continued on to a windmill tour. The tour was in French, rather rapid French so I couldn’t really understand anything other than it was one of the only remaining mills that was used to press flax seed into oil.
We returned home and rested a bit. The oldest son, Stephan and his wife Julie and their 3 lovey and fun kids came over for dinner It was great to see them and spend time talking with them. Maybe one day they will visit Wisconsin. We hope so. Later Ltmgamer said he had fun and liked visiting with the kids and he was glad he didn’t stay in his room on the ipad. It was fun to see the kids play together. Liam got out the French – English dictionary to see if they could play saying words in French and English. All in all it was a terrific day and I was so grateful to have been able to spend time with my host family again after 32 years. Next up- Paris.